The Columbia Gorge Community College graduating class of 2013-14 will be the first to earn their diplomas under the college’s new independent accreditation — and the first honored at the “Beacon on the Hill” this Friday, June 13.
The “Beacon” is the Fort Dalles Readiness Center and CGCC Workforce Center.
According to Dr. Frank Toda, CGCC’s president, these two factors make this year’s graduation historically significant for the college, which was established 37 years ago.
“Because we were not independently accredited, to many students it was like we were not a real college,” said Toda. “It was as if we were simply a distribution center for educational services under the banner of Portland Community College. To others, we were still a hospital facility on the hill or the old junior college. By partnering with the Oregon Military Department in building this state-of-the-art, ‘green’ facility and seeing it finished within a year of our becoming independently accredited, we jumped a long way toward creating our new image as a progressive, full-service community college.”
Among its many purposes, the almost 63,000-square-foot facility serves as the new National Guard armory, houses the nationally recognized Renewable Energy Technology program, and provides ample space for large special events, such as this graduation.
The graduation ceremony takes place Friday, June 13, at 3 p.m. and is open to the public. At the ceremony, graduates will be given diploma covers along with a personally signed note from Toda. The CGCC president also plans to hand-sign (as opposed to using a scanned signature) the approximately 300 degrees and certificates, bearing the new, official CGCC seal. Official diplomas will be mailed to students a few weeks after graduation.